From the monthly archives: "October 2009"

Sky Shrimp?
October 25, 2009
After a recent rain storm in the Los Angeles area, a friend of mine reported that there were thousands of the small insects(?) scattered all over her driveway and sidewalk. I’m usually pretty good at identifying the odd arthropod, but this one eludes me. They may be associated with a tall palm tree outside the house, but that can’t be verified.
It looks like a shrimp, or some larval form. Can you pinpoint this?
Sir Real
San Dimas, CA (East Los Angeles area)

Lawn Shrimp

Lawn Shrimp

Hi Sir Real,
These terrestrial amphipods are called Lawn Shrimp or House Hoppers.  They live in shrubbery and are most fond of ivy.  They ofter are not noticed until they enter homes in large numbers after a rain and promptly die.

Sky Shrimp Identified
I don’t know if my last retraction came through, so I’m duplicating the effort.
Very much like the last person who wrote-searched-found-wrote, I am in the same boat. Only after I wrote my question, I read through to another person searched after they wrote. So did I. Yes, your search engine is functioning well within parameters.
THANKS for the great site.
Sir Real

Who is this death muncher?
October 24, 2009
I’ve seen these guys a couple of times, the first time I ever saw them was among other bugs voraciously consuming a mole corpse who’s death had been basking in the summer heat for at least two days. They were the dominant insect in and on that corpse. His thorax reminds me Roman muscle armor… What is this odd little guy?
Eric, The Wild Man
willamette valley, along the columbia river. Oregon

Sexton Beetle

Sexton Beetle

Hi Eric,
This is one of the Burying Beetles in the genus Nicrophorus that are known as Sexton Beetles.  We expect it is the highly variable Nicrophorus defodiens.  BugGuide has a nice array of images with some individuals possessing bold spotting, and others with subtle spotting like your specimen.  Burying Beetles often work in pairs, burying small dead creatures, laying eggs on the carcass.

Is this a moth? A butterfly? A beetle? Identification please!
October 23, 2009
Hi, I’m a photographer and one day out on my porch I saw this bug. I just had to take pictures of it, but I was completely dumbfounded as to what type of insect it was. The picture was taken early this past summer and I’ve been searching for identification ever since. It’d be great if you guys could tell me what it is so I can finally label it in my portfolio!
Thanks so much!!! Clair Jones
Northern Virginia

Common Burrower Mayfly

Common Burrower Mayfly

Hi Clair,
Your insect is none of the above.  It is a Mayfly, a group of ephemeral insects that only lives in the adult form for a few days, long enough to mate.  Though they often appear in great numbers in the month of May, they can be found at other times as well.  This appears to be a Common Burrower Mayfly in the family
Ephemeridae, based on images posted to BugGuide.

Sulphur caterpillar rescue and cocoon
October 22, 2009
I think this is an orange barred sulphur based on photos I’ve seen. We rescued this caterpillar and it’s brother from a family member’s cassia tree (she was going to kill them!). I cried a little and she let me take them off and bring them home.
Anyway, we bought cassia bushes for them the next day and they both formed cocoons within 48 hours. So exciting!
Here’s the strange part: a few days later we looked at the bushes and there were five sulphur caterpillars! We’re completely stumped because we searched the bushes carefully everyday for eggs and there were none to be found. The caterpillars were all different sizes (including two full grown). Can caterpillars crawl from another place to a host tree? I thought they ate where they were hatched. Anyway, we’re so excited to have our first butterfly nursery. The new caterpillars look more like cloudless sulphurs, though.
Elizabeth from Orlando
Orlando, Florida

Orange Sulphur Caterpillar

Orange Barred Sulphur Caterpillar

Hi Elizabeth,
WE often have trouble distinguishing the Orange Barred Sulphur from the Cloudless Sulphur in the caterpillar phase.  Phoebis philea, the Orange Barred Sulphur, which can be viewed on BugGuide, and its more widespread relative, the Cloudless Sulphur, Pheobis sennae, also viewable on BugGuide, both have variable caterpillars.  It seems yellow caterpillars often are found feeding on the flowers and green caterpillars are found feeding on the leaves.  Both are masters of camouflage.  Caterpillars can grow quickly.  It is entirely possible you missed the caterpillars on the Cassia plant when you purchased it, and we consider that to be far likelier than that the new caterpillars migrated from elsewhere.  We would reserve exact species identification until the adults emerge.

Orange Sulphur Chrysalis

Orange Barred Sulphur Chrysalis

this guy landed on my brothers desk at work
October 22, 2009
this guy landed this past monday october 20th 2009 on my brothers desk at work in plano tx. it sat there wiggling its tail side to side.
plano tx

Melonworm Moth

Melonworm Moth

Hi Kris,
With its distinctive wings and tufted abdomen, it is not likely that the Melonworm Moth, Diaphania hyalinata, will be confused with other species.  Larvae feed on plants in the cucumber family, and if present in sufficient quantities, they can be a pest.

Thank u so much. My old bug book just didn’t have it anymore
But that might have been because when we
Were kids we used the ol book so much that
Pages r missing so. We really appreciate
Your fast answer!!!! U made an ol gal happy!
Sent from kris’s phone

Fly With Green Eyes, Green Body
October 22, 2009
My friends and I do alot of macro pictures of bugs and came across this fly with large green eyes and a metallic green body. Can you tell us what it is?
Bob in Florida
Tampa Bay Area of Florida

Syrphid Fly

Hover Fly

Hi Bob,
After unsuccessfully searching BugGuide, we were going to post your photo and enlist help from our readership, but one last ditch effort led us to Ornidia obesa, a species of Syrphid Fly, commonly called Flower Flies or Hover Flies.  Seems this species has a somewhat dubious reputation.  According to BugGuide:  “It breeds in human latrines and other semiliquid wastes
” and “It is known to carry bacteria of public health importance (Salmonella, Shigella and Mycobacterium). The species is also beneficial as the maggots can convert coffee-production waste products into useful protein sources for cattle feed.”  We found reference that this species from the New World tropics has spread to the Old World Tropics as well.